A Few Newbie Postpartum Doula Mistakes to AvoidOct 25, 2021
Postpartum doulas do many things. There's lots of leeway in what each postpartum doula offers. When I started, I used to do a lot of things I wouldn't do now. Originally, I worked for an established postpartum doula service, and there was a contract with an insurance company for twelve hours of doula care after birth.
One time, I was working for a couple. I had made some brownies, and washed a few dishes. There really wasn't much to do, and the services were paid by the insurance. The Dad asked me if I would scrape paint off the windows upstairs in the new addition that was in process. Because I was bored, and still had a couple of hours to go, I said, "yes."
I know what you're thinking. Why would any postpartum doula in their right mind scrape paint off windows?
The answer is really simple, I responded in the moment, and I had a serious challenge with doing nothing. I wouldn't say yes to this request today. Often times news parents want you there as security blanket, and they aren't asking you to do a lot.
Another time, I got a last minute call from a Dad whose wife had fallen down a few stairs with their newborn. She sprained her ankle, and the baby was fine. He asked if I could come that evening for some help. We had never met before.
When I arrived, all the grandparents were there, as well as the Mom and Dad. They showed me around the house, and where the bottles and formula were.
Within fifteen minutes, they declared that were all going out to dinner.
I was stunned. Not only was I not a babysitter of a brand new (less than a week old) baby, but these people were leaving their baby with a perfect stranger.
I felt obligated, and couldn't explain what a postpartum doula does and doesn't do. As in, a postpartum doula is not an overpriced babysitter.
When they got back from dinner, I did explain that if they were going to use my services, I would not be babysitting as part of the deal. What I realized was that because I was referred by a nurse at the hospital, my reputation was solid.
These parents trusted me because they trusted their nurse.
This is why I emphasize, in my hybrid online postpartum doula training, getting to know your referral sources. You are building a reputation based upon who you are, and who knows you. Of course, you can always clarify ahead of time what services you provide, even with a last minute call.
This will save you the situation I found myself in many times as a new postpartum doula. You won't be caught off guard.
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